Hell on Wheels: The Complete First Season Blu-ray


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It’s pretty much impossible to watch “Hell on Wheels” without thinking of HBO’s “Deadwood.”  It was the era when America was just setting stakes into the ground and beginning to define itself as a nation, with nothing more than a few outposts here and there.  AMC’s “Wheels” goes a step further and plays against the wide landscape between the coasts as the first railroad lines were built to connect the east and west – all while battling the Native Americans who refused to be displaced by the industrial revolution.

At the center of the story is a man with a past, of course.  Cullen Bohannon is just underplayed by Anson Mount (you might remember him from “Crossroads” opposite Britney Spears).  His counterpart, though, a former slave played by Common, turns out to be the most intriguing one to watch.  There are plenty of characters here though: Colm Meaney as the shrewd businessman who is racing to the shore with his railroad investment, a pair of Irish immigrants who offer tickets to a first-generation picture show, and, of course, whores.  Lots and lots of whores.

Some of these storylines are fierce and grueseome (more than a few scalpings), but at the end of the day, we’re here to watch the history unfold and all the layers to Elam Ferguson, played by Common.  And if this is up your alley, you’d best catch-up now before the new season begins on 12 August.  That is, as long as your cable provider isn’t trying a dumb move like dropping AMC from its lineup.